Traversing a tense Cairo

An Al Jazeera online producer makes his way through a series of citizen-monitored checkpoints.

On January 30, amid a nearly complete internet blackout in Egypt, an Al Jazeera web producer travelled with friends from an office with internet access toward Tahrir Square in the country’s capital, Cairo.

On the way, the group had to navigate a series of tense checkpoints manned by armed civilians attempting to defend their neighbourhood.

Here is a rough translation of the clip:

“Open the door”, the guy in the first check point asks.

The guy in the front seat is part of the neighborhood watch, he tells the guys at the check point that the new rule is if you get checked at the first checkpoint of the neighborhood then you don’t need to be checked again until the last checkpoint of the neighborhood.

He also explains which blocks the road blocks contain. He also tells them that they are showing a red card today.

One of the guys comment that things are more organized than yesterday, neighborhood watch guy in the front seat says that it is the same as yesterday but the new thing is the cards that show that they have already been checked in point A of the road blocks.

The guy in the front seat keeps explaining the new paper rule, “If people don’t show you the paper card then check them, if they have a card then let them go through.”

“If they don’t have a card, stop and search them,” he said.

He keeps explaining to people along the way of the procedure. “We belong to the first check point,” he says.
At the very end he asks the last check point he explains the rules again.

He explains to the last check point the areas that they are covering.

The guys in the last road block ask about the Tahrir sq shooting:” we heard about shooting in Tahrir, tell us what is happening? is it true?,” they ask.

He reassures them that they will keep communicating and they exchange numbers at the very end.

Source: Al Jazeera


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